Jon Carson, Senior Project Engineer
What do you like best about working at DMC?
The ever changing challenges. I’ve been at DMC for four years, and between technical problems and project challenges, I still have the opportunity to learn constantly. One benefit of DMC’s smaller size is the ability to be involved in project management and sales on the business side, which you might not immediately have exposure to at a larger company.
Do you have any engineering hobbies?
I’ve enjoyed learning how to program for the iPhone and iPad, and am currently writing two apps. The first is an app to easily share recommendations and local deals with friends. The second, Malortcator, will direct you to the nearest bar that serves Malort. Malort is a cult liquor in Chicago, and it’s a fun drink because it’s not for everyone and you feel like a true friend sharing it with someone.
I heard you have some finger picking skills?
I’m getting back into playing the banjo. I started playing in college because it’s a fun sounding instrument and has an interesting story, being one of the only instruments to have originated in America. I’m still deciding between two styles of banjo playing - classic banjo uses only your hands and finger picking uses a metal or plastic pick. The banjo features heavily in a lot of the bluegrass music that I like, including Trampled by Turtles.
When did you know you wanted to become an engineer?
I’ve always been interested into diving into the ornate processes of how to make things work, and I’ve probably wanted to be an engineer since I was about seven years old. My dad works in industrial automation simulating entire factories with random variations to find inefficiencies. My mom was also a programmer for a very long time and continues to as a hobby, so I’ve always been surrounded by that field. I started by learning how to program HTML and QBasic on my own in middle school as well as C++ in high school.
What is your favorite programming language?
Working with Siemens PLCs is appealing because they’re used in factories around the world. I like working with motion control because it’s interesting to work on something in the office and then see it in action at high-speed in the factory.
What’s been your favorite project at DMC?
I worked on a project at a super high-speed mail sorting and processing facility. Hundreds of packages per minute were scanned and sorted to trucks. If a line went down even temporarily it would cause a huge backup. Every package was constantly moving and being tracked – the fluid and high tech system was fascinating. It’s exciting to learn how to work efficiently onsite, solving problems as quickly as possible without knowing all of the details.
Can you share any advice from your career so far?
Have a backup plan.
Don’t mess things up worse.
Where are your favorite places in Chicago?
Logan Square is a vibrant neighborhood with tons of different people. I’ve lived there for about four months and it’s been great watching it grow. There are always wonderful new restaurants popping up, the Logan Theater recently opened, and there’s a terrific farmers market at my front door.
What else do you like to do for fun?
Biking is a fun way to get around the city, and I do it as often as I can.
I like going to new restaurants. Lula Café always has great specials and you can’t go wrong with Longman & Eagle, Mercadito, or Hot Doug’s.
I also enjoy checking out live music. I recently saw a great show by Japandroids and Ty Segall at Lincoln Hall as part of an NPR Sound Opinions interview. Another favorite show was seeing The Pixies a few years ago. They were one of my favorite bands growing up and it was incredible to see them perform live.
How do you feel about your title as the “office hipster?”
It was given to me by Cesar. I fought it for years, but have finally accepted it.